Monday, 11 April 2016

Winter in PERTH once again- June 2015- Midnight flight and DAY 1 (where lots of things went wrong)

This year, we re-visited Perth as the kids plus the parents were reminiscing their time in Perth through all the photos taken last year. The kids wanted to feed the kangaroo, see koala bears, see bear and feed some goats! Mummy and daddy missed the tiramisu from Ciao Italia as well!!!! And so hubby and me kept a lookout for cheap flights to Perth.. 

We waited and waited and finally Jetstar is having ONE-FOR-ONE promotion! It is a really great deal and we manage to book the deal during June School Holidays!!! Got the deal at $250 per person including tax, luggage allowances (25kg to and 50kg fro) and 3 sets of meals on our way back! Timing is a little odd though but I guess it makes up with the cheap flights. We will be reaching Perth close to midnight and coming back early morning so will be kinda wasting 2 nights of hotel stay in Perth but after working out the additional hotel charges, it is still cheaper than the other flights so we decided to go with this!

Kiddos are super excited on the days leading to the trip. They kept asking us when we will be going. Keep repeating wanna meet kangaroo, koala and the bear! Seriously, I don't even know which bear they wanna see, I personally don't remember seeing any bear on my last trip. I was thinking probably they are referring to the cute wombat which is super adorable by the way.

After much anticipation, the day has come! Yay!!! Our flight is at 6pm and the plan is to go to the airport at 3pm so that we have extra time for the playground. Tried to get the kids to nap at 1pm but to no avail. Both of them are too excited and did not want to nap at all. 


Even though we make extra time for the playground and dinner, we ended up being the last few person to board but luckily not to the extent of names being called! Phew!


Lugging the new Trunki hubby and me bought in London airport during our second honeymoon trip...
And we are on-board! Perth, here we come.

Our very own in-flight entertainment- IPAD
Enjoying his in-flight entertainment
Flight reached ahead of time and we manage to check out uneventfully. Then hubby said “ Oh no, I forget my winter jacket!!!!” OMG!!!! Based on our last year’s experience, daytime is usually quite ok but nighttime is pretty chilly and windy. It is almost 11pm already when we landed! It was windy but luckily still not that freezing!

Bought OPTUS card as last year cause it is still the best deal, coverage is good and now they even have the banner in Chinese!
We quickly grab a taxi and checked in at Hotel Ibis Budget Perth Airport that is about 15 minutes away! Cleaned the kids up and after some milk/biscuit to fill kiddo's stomach, the kids fall asleep.

Meanwhile, hubby tried to get the Optus Sim Card to work but to no avail and so we slept!

Note: For Ibis Budget Perth Airport hotel, to be honest my review is good location but small budget basic room and the price is on the high side. You can probably get a much better hotel at this price. We only choose this because it is close to the airport and we didn't want to travel much as we reached in midnight. Personally, I would not recommend this hotel unless you are only considering about the location. Plus, the heater in the room is not really very warm and we were there in winter so it is quite chilly for me.

DAY 1

The next morning, hubby woke up early, took a bus to collect our rental car. He did some research on how to get to the car rental office before we arrive so that we can do some budgeting for this trip. Well, bus is the cheapest, he manage to go to the car rental place for AUD$2.90 instead of AUD$15-20 for taxi fare! Good savings!!! 

Kiddos only woke up close to 10am, so I had to rush a bit. I settle the kids breakfast and shower so that we could get to our second accommodation which I booked via stayz.com. For Australia trip, I usually book via stayz as the service charge is cheaper than AirBnB and based on my own research, the prices are more competitive as well.

Jie jie is awake and enjoying some biscuit I bring over from Spore.
Now, little one is awake...

This time round we booked from Avis instead of Hertz as they offer good prices. We booked one week of Toyota Camry plus one car seat for AUD $300.

Avis website: http://www.avis.com/car-rental/html/Landing/sem/au/wa/perth/per.html

I am ready...Let's go!
We had to rush as I had inform the house owner that we will arrived at 11am. Actually by the time, I already got a bad feeling. Prior to coming, we kept having issues with this apartment that we booked. First of all, the credit card payment on Stayz did not work out (some technical issue at the website) and when we tried paying using paypal (hubby’s computer hang for the first time in many years). In the end, we still make payment but the owner did not reply me after informing us of the address and that she will meet us at the house. No phone number is given although I requested for it!

We arrived at the apartment at 11am as agreed previously and we waited. Almost asking each and everyone that came along whether he/she is “Tash”, the owner name given to us. We even went up to the apartment a couple of times to check if anyone is at home etc… no guard around and no neighbours seems to know him/her too! 

Started to get a little panic, lots of things come to mind. Where to stay tonight? What happen to Tash? After an hour of waiting, we decided to just go for lunch, as everyone is hungry and we are unable to contact "Tash". Our Optus Sim Card also does not work and hubby’s phone roaming is super slow!!!!

On our way to lunch, I found this super old email send by Stayz requesting for payment (the one that the link doesn’t work due to credit card service maintenance or something), and I found "Tash" phone number!!!! I quickly gave her a call and luckily she picked up. Though she is unable to meet us, but she told us how to get into the house. Phew.. at least we have a place to stay for tonight.

Initially, we wanted to lunch at iPho to reminiscing the last time we are in Fremantle and then…. it’s opening hours on weekday is 3pm-9pm ONLY!!! Only weekend is opened for lunch and dinner. Oh, really very unlucky. 

We ended up eating at The Monk and the food is pricey and not very nice. I wonder why the restaurant is considered much packed than its adjacent restaurant…Oh well...


Look at her cheeky face...
Little brother join in the cheeky photo shoot...
and mummy's turn as well...
We went for this restaurant also because of the relatively positive review on TripAdvisor. I have to agree that the ambience is good, outdoor seating with nice breeze but the food did not live up to expectation and also, price is on the high side.
Kiddy's spaghetti 
Beef burger with super thin crisp
Close up of the thin crisp


After that we went to Woolsworth to get some groceries and then went back to the apartment. Luckily, we managed to get in with the instructions J


View from the apartment

Everyone is exhausted from the late flight yesterday and all the waiting in the morning, so after checking in and the kids ate an ice cream from Woolsworth, everyone went for a nap. Plus, it was raining too. We slept until 6 plus before all of us woke up and went for dinner.

In between nap, Tash actually dropped by and passed us ONE toilet roll and a few tablecloth. She even said we had to clean up the table, floor and toilet before leaving. Phew….. This is the first time I had to clean up a place before leaving. Of course, the usual instruction is to maintain a relatively clean and tidy place, throw rubbish etc but this is the first time we were given strict instructions to clean the whole place before leaving. 

Anyway, dinner is uneventful except it started raining again…. We managed to dine at iPho. Food is good and I must say that the food in iPho is pretty authentic. I just went to Vietnam a week before coming to Perth so can really taste the similarity :)  We had Com Tan (broken rice with grilled pork chop). The rice is really authentic broken rice and pork chop is very flavourful. Yummy!
iPho
Com Tan
I have attached a photo of the opening hours so that you won't make a waste trip like me...

Business hour for those who are keen to try



We went back after dinner as it was raining so no chance to play the outdoor playground which the kids enjoyed last year.We showered and we had a good night sleep! Tomorrow we will be hitting Caversham Wildlife Park, hopefully tomorrow we will have much better luck! Ciao...

For winter trips in Perth, check out my previous entry: http://blessedlittletravelers.blogspot.sg/2015/04/travel-tips-to-perth-in-winter.html

For those who are bringing kids to Perth, check out my Top 5 MUST GO in PERTH with kids: http://blessedlittletravelers.blogspot.sg/2015/04/5-places-to-visit-in-perth-with-kids.html








Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Hong Kong Macao Travelogue March 2016 -Day 5 (FINAL)

Today is our last day in Hong Kong and our flight is at 2 plus in the afternoon. So, we had some time in the morning to check out dim sum in Hong Kong. 


What to order...
So many choices...
Garden Restaurant which is just a few steps away from our hotel...
Dig in....

Dim sum @ Garden Restaurant is generally good and price is reasonable too. 

We checked out of the hotel, and took bus A21 back to airport (Cost HKD$33) and it brings us straight to Terminal 2.

From there, we got our Octopus Card refunded. We also manage to get some last minute goodies from Kee Wah Bakery. After checking in, we had to take a train to Terminal 1 where all the boarding gates are located. 

For lunch, dad finally got to taste goose meat that he had been wanting to eat before leaving HK. We had lunch at Tsui Wah Restaurant and the food is yummy, portion is large too. I especially love the warm lime orange juice, it is soooo good!

Satisfied!
Yum... and my lime juice is super good!
Our final pack of goodies from Kee Wah Bakery...
We boarded and here is a few shots I took while on the plane... such a nice photo to end the trip.





Hong Kong Macao Travelogue March 2016 -Day 4

Today is our last full day in Hong Kong and as mention earlier, I will be sharing our fun half day trip to Cheng Chau Island which is highly highly recommended by my cousin who stays in Hong Kong. 

Cheng Chau is famous for its fishing village and also a weekend getaway for locals. Quaint and peaceful, it is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong city area. 


If you do have extra time during your trip, this highly recommended. You can either go for half day trip, full day trip or even at overnight trip. 

In the morning, dad had a quick fix breakfast opposite the hotel while mum and me just munch some bread that we bought yesterday from the Open Kitchen, so yummy and soft.

After breakfast, we took a bus from Nathan Road to the Victoria Harbour Pier (Bus 1,1A,2 or 6). It is a double decker bus and excitedly, we sat on the second floor as our stop is the final stop. 

Looking fresh in the morning.
Today's weather is so much warmer and sunny that it put a smile in everyone's face. Mum finally got her chance to wear her dress that she bring for the trip :)

Again, we took a ferry across Victoria Harbour, enjoying the view. 

Sweet couple :)
Us :)))
When we reach the Central Ferry Terminal, we alighted at Pier 7 and then we walked to Pier 5 to take the ferry to Cheng Chao Island. There are two types of ferry to the island (Ordinary or Fast). Ordinary cost HKD$13.20 and the fast ferry cost HKD$25.80. The fast ferry takes 30 mins while the ordinary one takes 1 hour. 

We took the ordinary ferry on the way to Cheng Chao as it is the earliest to depart while we are there and the fast ferry will have to wait for another 30 mins before the boat depart. Surprisingly, it only took 30 minutes for us to reach the island despite taking the ordinary ferry. 

We reached at 11am and it is indeed quaint and nice. Totally didn't feel like I am in Hong Kong at all. 

Nice fishing village..
Dad started to feed fishes with the bread he bought yesterday
There are a lot of nice little shops selling souvenirs, clothes, toys etc. So nice to just browse around...

We are a bit hungry as we didn't eat a proper breakfast and yes, my stomach has 80% recover so I am kinda famished after not eating much for the whole day yesterday. 

Along San Hing Praya Street, there is a stretch of seafood restaurant. I read some reviews online and settle for the one at the end of the road (New Barracat Seafood Restaurant)


All the seafood shop has this similar promo... 3 dishes for $xxx , 4 dishes for $yyy etc. So basically, you just choose the amount of dishes you wanted, and go for the promotion. Any dishes in the list can be chosen and it includes prawn, crab, etc. 

Seafood is all fresh from the tank in the shop, so can just take your pick. These are what we had and they are absolutely yummy! Very fresh and nicely executed by the chef. 

Steam prawn
Spring Onion Crab
Scallop with vermicelli and yummy sauce
Baked pigeon
Finger licking good and we are pretty satisfied at the end of the meal. Prices is very reasonable as well. We explored around the little town, walking pass housing area, mini shops. It was fun!

Local resident
German Restaurant
And we found this dessert shop at the back alley. Time for some mango dessert. All mangoes are fresh and the owner is just slicing and slicing the mangoes in the shops. That shows how good their business are...


Mango mochi, mango pomelo sago and mango with jelly. 
Time to dig in our dessert ...Yum!
And now, we are officially super full. Cant really eat anymore... So time to walk around to use up some energy. 

There is a beach at the back of all the shops with a few guest house and hotel. 



Nice flowers which caught mummy's eye...
Close up of the flowers...

A pretty gate with lots of "LOVE"
Lots of "small snacks" as well.. but we are just too full to eat anymore.
We could have spend the whole day here but since I was sick and we haven't conquer The Peak yet, we have to cut our trip short.  For those who wants to spend the whole day, you can rent a bicycle and go around cause the island is actually not that small especially if you would like to visit the Pirate Cave which is at one end of the island. 

We took the 2.45pm Fast Ferry back and it also took 30 minutes. The difference is the fast ferry have air conditioning while the ordinary ferry is open air. Seats are more comfortable as well. But to me, both are equally nice, and I would suggest to choose based on the departure time. Whichever leave first, just go for that :)

Seats in the fast ferry...
Upon reaching Central Pier, we are again back to Hong Kong Island. We took bus 15 from a bus stop just in front of the Pier and it brings us straight to The Peak (final stop). Fare HKD$11.

It was pretty foggy today so we can hardly see anything but still, a visit to The Peak is a MUST when someone first visiting Hong Kong. 

@ The Peak @

Still happy despite the fog :D

Since we can't see the real scenery, lets just take a look at the photo and imagine :)
Cool tram which is now converted into Tourist Centre
It was around 5 plus in the evening when we are done exploring The Peak. We are deciding between Mak's Noodle at The Peak or Tim Ho Wan at IFC Mall. In the end, we decided to go for Tim Ho Wan, to taste and see if the one in HK is really more authentic and nicer than the one in Singapore. 

We took the tram down ( the queue is long and moving rather slow).  Cost HKD$28 and one can use their Octopus card for it as well. 

Tram prices
Waiting for the tram to arrive...
Yay, it has arrived and once the passengers alight, it is our turn to board :)
On the way down... look at the fog!
From the tram station, we walked to IFC mall. It took quite sometime to find the Tim Ho Wan as it is not located in the main shopping mall area and even though we asked quite a few people, they all gives us different direction and we ended up walking here and there on a wild goose chase. 

When we finally saw the signboard, we are all alarmed that it is CLOSED! I meant seriously??!!

Luckily, I looked up slightly further and I saw another Tim Ho Wan?? With lots of people q-ing. Erm, they probably move their restaurant few doors down... Phew.... at last, we can have dinner. 

Lots of people and we are q-ing for our turn
Happy face!
Nice smile :)
After dinner, we concluded that "Steamed Ma Lai Gao" is nicer in HK, "Crusted Top Cha Siew Bao" is yummier in Spore. The menu also slightly differ and there is this Phoenix Leg in Abalone Sauce which is nice and only available in HK. Mum and dad love it and even order a second serving. So, it is still worth a try!

We took MTR back to hotel. Mum and me wanted to go to Temple Street as it is our last day and we couldn't leave without exploring the famous street which is just a few streets behind our hotel. Dad is tired so he just go downstairs and chit chat/networking with other tourist, something he did quite a bit during the trip. He could just go downstairs and start chatting up with tourist who stays in our hotel, sharing some tips and experience, pretty cool I must say.

So mum and me went to Temple Street and we ended up buying a couple of little things (luggage tag, handphone accessories etc). We walked past the Temple Street with people q-ing and waiting for their turn to have the fate checked out....

And we saw Hui Lau Shan. So, despite pretty full from dinner, we just wanted to try. So we ordered one bowl of steamed milk with durian paste to try...

Hui Lau Shan
So cute....Love this photo!

We went back to hotel to put the things we bought and to put on jacket as the weather is getting chilly at night. Then we came out again, to shop on Nathan Street. Pretty nice to shop without bringing our heavy bag out... just bring a purse and hotel card... light and happy.
Mum watching Alaskan Crab, they are so huge!
We finish shopping and went back to rest and pack. Luggage is pretty much filled up, mostly with the goodies that we bought :)

Tomorrow is the last day and we are going back home sweet home :)

Last day- http://blessedlittletravelers.blogspot.sg/2016/04/hong-kong-macao-travelogue-march-2016_8.html